Spicy Tamarind Tava Fish

What do you do when you have some beautiful fillets of Basa at home? You hurry up and cook something delicious with them! Before I get to the recipe, I want to say this one can be made with ANY good white fish. Basa is a great cheap option, but pomfret or even kingfish would have to be my preferences. Of course go ahead and use cod or halibut, though I would avoid Hoki because it does have a very overpowering smell and flavour.

Now this recipe is definitely one from India, and it is definitely amazing. This style of fish is one I’ve eaten at an aunt’s house who hails from a different community, though within the same language group. I know – India is a little complicated in that sense. Okay a lot complicated *sigh*. Point is, fish is not something I grew p with, and this particular style of cooking fish is not something you would see in my specific community. It is, however, so delicious… it’s ridiculous.

wp-1489489218243.jpg

 

This recipe use a lot of tamarind pulp. You can usually find a bottle of this in th e Asian food aisle of your local supermarket, or head over to an Asian/Indian grocery store. Something a little off the original recipes is my addition of ginger, only a little, to brighten up the flavour. Now ginger is something I tend to add to a lot of my recipes because of the overall health benefits that come with it – trust me a little bit of it in your diet will go a long long way. Back to the tamarind – if you are able to find tamarind in block form then you can soak the same amount in some warm water for a couple of hours before removing the pulp from the mixture and using that. It does take longer, but of course fresh will always be better.

 

Let’s also talk about the marination. There really isn’t much to it apart from the fact that you want to give the fish at least 30 minutes to soak up in all the wonderful flavours. This tenderises the fish, and also just laces everything with the marination, which I just love. The maximum time to marinade the fillets would be 2 hours for uncut fillets like I used, but 30 minutes if you are using small chunks. After the fish is done marinating, we coat it with a mixture of rice flour and a touch of semolina for crunch. This will essentially glue the marinade and the flavour to the fish, while giving you a delicious toasty and crunchy topping to bite through. Even talking about this has me pretty damn excited.

wp-1489489184669.jpg

 

The ingredients for the marinade itself are really straightfoward. Start with the tamarind, some dried chilli, chilli powder, a touch of turmeric, asafetida, some corinader, a pinch of salt, crushed garlic and minced ginger – BAM. You need to soak the dried chilli in a 1/2 tsp of hot water for 10 minutes before transferring the chili to a mortar and pestle, and crush away. The final marinade should be nice and thick, but smooth overall. You have to rub the marinade into the flesh of the fish. If you plan to use skin-on fish, then use a sharp knife to just score the skin. This way the intense marination flavour with get straight to the meat and the skin too. Yum yum yum!

wp-1489489223888.jpg

So here we have the recipe card! Do tell me what you thought about this one

tava-fish-tamarind.jpg

 

 

Advertisements

Healthy Avo Smash, poached Egg and Eggplant

MAKE BREAKFAST AMAZING AGAIN.

and make it at home.

SO many people spend anywhere between 15 – 30 dollars on their Sunday brunch, each week! Now, if you are willing to put in the 10 minutes of time it will take to make the food, you are going to save so much money. This particular recipe is so simple and easy, and you can actually make most the elements ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to use in other recipes. To top it off, there are plenty of ways to tweak this recipe for a new flavour each and every time, that way each Sunday will be amazingly special.

20170312_095010.jpg

 

Here comes the tricky part – the avocado. Why is it tricky? How many times have you cut open an avocado thinking it is the right softness to use, only to find it horribly hard or yucky and black? Oh it happens to all of us. The trick is to just understand the firmness. When you grab the avo, I normally do this with my non-writing hand to check, it should be firm enough to give a little resistance, but soft enough that you can push the skin in. Some people seriously have a knack for this.

To the avocado I always add some kind of cheese. In this recipe I went for cream cheese, but some delicious crumbly feta or ricotta are perfect substitutes. If you are vegan, then go ahead and add just a touch of Silken tofu to add a delcious creamy element to the avocado smash. I also add a hint of sumac because I just love the tangy spice that it provides, a squeeze of lime, which preserves the green color, and some parsley too. If not parsley you can add chives, or dill even to just freshen up the avocado even more. You can also add a touch of paprika if you like a little heat to your breakfast.

20170312_09533320170312_095428

In terms of the egg, I went for a yummy runny yolk by poaching my egg, but my parents personally love a good ol’ sunny side up. So no matter what the preference, you can use it. If you prefer scrambled, then add some of the cheese you used in the avo smash to the eggs. To poach the egg – I cannot believe I forgot to take photos! – add a touch of lime juice or vinegar to your pot of hot water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, generate a vortex by making circles in the water using the end of a spoon. I like to crack the egg into a little bowl before Β this point to make life a little easier because once the vortex has been made, you just want to slide the egg straight into the centre, slowly and gently. The egg should swirl around and essentially fold up on itself. I remove the egg as soon as I can see that the white has cooked off using a slotted spoon, but keep cooking the egg to your liking. Make sure you set it aside to dry off a little on some kitchen paper.

20170312_094844

Now this is the part I do beforehand. The roasted eggplant and the tomato-basil sauce. Stay tuned for the recipe, but any kind of tomato relish or even left over pasta sauce would work well. For the eggplant, I cut it up in thin slices and placed them in a roasting tray. I coated the eggplant generously with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper and roasted them at 180 degrees celcius, until the eggplant is beautifully golden and soft and has started to caramelise a little.

Here is the recipe card for this particular breakfast recipe!

Avo smash egc.jpg

 

20170312_101122

Easy Blueberry Loaf

I was feeling kind of under the weather when I decided to make this loaf bread, but I thought… you know what? I have to do something! I couldn’t just waste the day away in bed with my episodes of New Girl and Chicago P.D. Yes. I am a tv show nut.

πŸ˜€

Back to my loaf. Originally I wanted to make this loaf with oats, but alas I was out of oats. How this happened I have no clue. I leave the country for 3 months and my family just forgets to buy certain things! So I improvised and went with half self-raising and half whole wheat flour. Not everyone enjoys the sort of strong taste of the whole wheat. Now I loaded this loaf with blueberries. I literally wanted them to be bursting out from every little slice and direction. It’s like how I love my blueberry muffins – absolutely loaded.

20170225_181632

While writing out the recipe I couldn’t help but think about all the other recipes I wanted to try out, and ofc write! Things like doughnuts and other baked goodies. Even though I am not really baker. No harm in the attempt right? I am actually super excited to be cooking and baking! I have probably said it heaps of times, but now that I am working full-time I am incredibly psyched to be cooking and packing lunches and easy dinners. Oh and finally, I am not studying on the weekends!!! Do you know how much time I now have to dedicate to the miniature kitchen?!?

20170225_182109

Okay end of the rant. This recipe is very easy, and honestly doesn’t need much equipment. I just like to make sure the wet and dry ingredients are mixed separately. I make sure I whisk through the dry ingredients to break down any lumps and bumps prior to folding the wet ingredients with a a wooden spoon. It is THAT simple! Remember to keep the milk and egg out for a little time to raise the temperature slightly, in particular the egg. The egg MUST be at room temp!

In terms of the milk, I went ahead and made my own buttermilk. All you need to do is mix the whole milk with apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Personally I think either works a treat. You need to let this sit out for around 15-30 minutes to allow the buttermilk to prepare. Of course… you could just buy the buttermilk, but sometimes making it yourself is fun too! You can otherwise add 2 spoons of yogurt to the milk and whisk that through.

20170225_181214

20170225_181515

When preparing the blueberries you need to do an extra step. I prefer using frozen berries because they don’t rip apart at the slightest touch, but fresh is obviously better. In either case you need to coat the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour. What this essentially does is ensures that the blueberries do not ALL sink to the bottom. It’s sort of acts like an adhesive to the wet batter and holds the berries up while baking. Don’t believe me? Look at the little specks of blue/black while this bad boy was baking! They stayed right at the top πŸ™‚ Without the flour, the berries would have collected at the bottom so that when you sliced into the loaf you would just have lumps of berries down the bottom and not a pretty result πŸ˜›

20170225_185610

 

Alrighty! Recipe card time! πŸ˜€ Do we like these cards? I’m hoping to add a few features to these cards, so stay tuned! You will notice in the recipe I write that you can cover the loaf tin if the color of the bread has already developed into a lovely golden brown. Cover it with aluminum foil to actually stop the top from burning, and trap a lot of the heat within the space under the foil to essentially steam the rest of the loaf. This will ensure a lovely crust, and deliciously soft and moist bread.

Easy blueberry loaf.jpg

Seriously, try the recipe. It’s moist and delicious and oh so good.

 

 

Indian Style (Konkani) Salmon

It has been almost a year since I posted here, but you know what, I am 100% back and ready to blog my heart out. What have I been doing for the passed year? Cooking, baking, and well completing an honors thesis which literally occupied 90% of my mindspace. Quite frankly I tried my best to continue blogging, but I did need time to focus on my education. So from me, a massive thank you for being so patient! It means the world πŸ™‚

This happens to be one of those recipes that I love making all the time. Salmon is just such a crowd favourite and if cooked well, is the perfect healthy dinner. Now salmon actually has a high caloric count, and even a small fillet is hugely filling. My favourite way to serve up a fillet? With a big salad packed with tonnes of greens, or even a small portion of spicy rice. This Indian style Salmon goes incredibly well with a simple curry base, such as butter chicken curry (minus the chicken) or rogan josh masala.

SONY DSC

Back on track πŸ˜› This recipe is so perfect for those nights where all you need is some comfort food, something that is warm and hearty and is going to fill you right up. With lemon, and coriander along with warming cloves in this marinade, you honestly cannot go wrong. Now one big tip about cooking fish in general – Β salting the fish before the marinade helps to keep the fish ridiculously tender.

 

The marinade is so incredibly simple. All I added was some coconut, tamarind, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, more clove and star anise binded with some lemon juice too. Add through fresh red chilli for a delicious spicy kick in your recipe, along with garlic for that added bite. Yes we all know how much I love garlic. Now garlic and fish, well they just are the perfect combination. Trust me on that one.

Once the marinade is made, rub it into the Salmon flesh and set it aside. Let the fish marinade for a minimum of 10 minutes, but preferably marinate the fish for 30 mins in the fridge to let the flavors intensify and the fish to tenderize. The coriander gives the salmon a fresh edge, while the spices really warm up the meal. Now if you wanted to make this salmon fillet luxurious, then add a touch of softened butter. Remember to add a touch of salt too!

konkani-indian-salmon

Arrange lemon slices and coriander stalks onto some aluminum foil and lay the salmon over the bed. What is the lemon there for? It’s to help steam the salmon to honest perfection in the foil pocket. Additionally, you end up with a sweet almost caramelized tang from the lemon which not only balances the spice in the marinade, but also intensifies the overall warmth from the meal. Bake for 30 mins, or until the fish is done to your liking. Some like it well done, some like it medium, so it depends on your preference.

DSC01560.JPG

TO serve? Go ahead and make yourself a big green salad to go along with this delicious flaky salmon, or a little bowl of rice would work too. This salmon goes incredibly well with left over coconut rice too πŸ˜›

DSC01565.JPG

 

Vegetarian Pizzas Four ways

I invited my friends over, fairly last minute I must say, and decided I should cook something EASY for them. Mainly because every time we do end up cooking, it is so complicated or attention heavy that we don’t end up spending quality time together. So I figured some yummy home-made pizzas were the easiest way to go.

DSC09946.JPG

Now… i bought pre-made pizza bases from Aldi because not only are they cheap, but they come with a an oily-garlicly spread all over it. I find that these bases don’t dry out AT all which is wonderful.

I chose to make 4 different pizzas to mix things up a little you know. Keeps things exciting πŸ™‚ To start this big post post, we need to make my pizza base sauce first. I use this sauce all the time for my homemade pizzas because it just works and tastes really great on the pizza. Here is my simple recipe, and you can make it a few days in advance and just keep it in the fridge before you use it.

DSC09945.JPG

pizza sauce.jpg

Now we move onto my balsamic glaze. This is the thing that can make your ordinary pizza into something truly extraordinary. You can drizzle it over almost any pizza topping, but I love it over my Rocket and Goats cheese pizza. It just compliments the goats cheese so damn well! I add a little extra sugar and salt to my reduction just to cut down the really strong flavour of the vinegar. Here is the recipe!

balsamic glaze.jpg

Now to the main star(s). I’m starting with my Spinach and Feta pizza. I pack it with capsicum, onion and olives too for a really vege-ful bite. Basil is an essential piece of the pizza too, along with some cherry tomatoes. This is just a classic pizza, packed with flavour.

spinach and feta pizza

 

DSC09962.JPG

Number two is my honest favourite pizza – rocket and goats cheese pizza with balsamic glaze. It is so freaking easy, and it is one I love. My friends enjoyed it too. They mmmm-ed so I’m going to say yes they like it very much.

rocket and goats cheese

DSC09960.JPG

Number three is the easy magherita. Packed with tomatoes, basil and cheese, you can never go wrong with it.

maghertia

Number four is basically a variation of the maghertia, just with a pesto base. It changes the flavour completely and just changes up the tastes. It’s a great way to use up any left over basil pesto in the house πŸ˜€

pesto marg

DSC09981.JPG

So have a go at these four super simple but yummy pizzas. I asked my friends like 10 times to tell me if they enjoyed it… and they said yes… so if you all hate the recipes…

Blame it on them.

❀

 

Crispy Coconut Fish

For those that know me, they know just how much I absolutely love coconut. I love the flesh, the milk and the water. Every time I open up a can of coconut milk, and have some left over, I am always inspired to create and attempt new recipes using the wonderful ingredient.

The sweet taste of the milk is always so perfectly Β balanced with spice and lime in so many Indian and Thai recipes. It works so well in curry and puddings. One of my favourite recipes in fact is a yummy coconut rice pudding (kheer or payasum as it is known in Indian cooking). On that note… I’ll be publishing some yummy pudding recipes soon!!

DSC09088.JPG

This recipe took inspiration from Angel Prawns I ate at one of my favourite Thai restaurants. The prawns are covered in a delicious coconut topping and then fried to create a delicious crispy coconut crust over a superbly tender prawn meat. Now with Basa fillets in the house and coconut milk left over, I thought I would take a shot at making crispy coconut fish.

The prawns were fried, yes, however in an attempt to be a little healthier this summer, I decided to bake them. Do note that you can 100% fry this recipe (shallow or deep) and in fact would be a WHOLE lot quicker to make. By baking them I added about 20-30 mins to the cooking time, but hey… anything to keep that cholesterol low right?

DSC09082.JPG

Fish is such a great ingredient to stock up. Particularly lighter fish like Basa. It is relatively cheap, and you can very often find good quality frozen fillets too. Better yet, fish cooks super quickly making it perfect for those quick dinners for the family. Furthermore, fish is so wonderful for the body. It is high in omega 3 and protein and is so lean on the fat. Incorporating it into your diet will really do wonders for you and your family.

Now to the recipe.

crispy coconut fish.jpg

DSC09084.JPG

The end result of this fish… a house smelling like yummy coconut and lime. Honestly these two flavours together are just heaven πŸ™‚ . The desiccated coconut creates a really light and crispy coating over a truly tender fish. I served mine up with some spicy coconut black rice and quinoa (with some chia seeds) – watch this space for the recipe coming soon!!. Add some lime over the top, maybe serve it with a fresh salad – I would really suggest a fiery papaya salad. This recipe really just combines some simple basic flavours together and creates a fun alternative to boring dinners. You can really take this to another creative level by making these into fish fingers for the kids to take to lunch, or making fish, prawns and even some calamari with the same coating for nice seafood platter.